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Necessary reading for anyone concerned about the fate of American higher education.

An examination of the “new economics of college in America.”

In the mid-1960s, the federal government began investing huge sums of money in the educational system. As a result, more Americans from a greater variety of backgrounds had the opportunity to earn the degrees they believed would lead to middle-class prosperity. Goldrick-Rab’s (Higher Education Policy and Sociology/Temple Univ.; co-author: Reinventing Financial Aid, 2014, etc.) study, which uses current data gathered over six years and generated by 3,000 Wisconsin freshmen, reveals a disturbing national trend. Because the federal aid system has changed little in the last 50 years and because scholarship programs like the Pell Grant have not kept up with the skyrocketing costs of college, young people from low- and middle-income families are grappling with increasingly difficult financial choices. Many students, including six that the author followed very closely, must work part or full time at jobs made insecure by a volatile economy to pay for college. Additionally, they—and sometimes their families—are also forced to take out both student and bank loans. Moreover, just 48 percent of Pell recipients who start college full time “complete a degree or certificate of any kind within six years,” and Pell recipients who do earn a degree begin their working lives with an average debt of $30,000. Worse still, regarding the other 52 percent, “one in three leaves with…no credential and an average of $9,000 in student loan debt.” Despite the grim statistics, Goldrick-Rab believes that higher education can still be made more accessible by reforming the federal aid program, making true college costs clearer to incoming students, and creating a higher education system that offers the first degree for free. Bracing and well-argued, this study not only puts faces on the students who struggle to earn college degrees; it also serves as a warning that university study is rapidly becoming a privilege reserved for only the wealthy.

Necessary reading for anyone concerned about the fate of American higher education.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-226-40434-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Univ. of Chicago

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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